NFL TV ratings drop almost 10 percent during tumultuous season

NFL ratings have never taken a hit like this before

NFL ratings have never taken a hit like this before

NFL playoff games are usually among the top rated TV shows of any given year and while people look at sports as games, television and league executives know it is just a television show.

In 2017, only 10,800,000 fans watched Monday Night Football on ESPN. That is a steeper decline than the 8% viewership erosion past year.

National Football League television viewership dropped almost 10 percent in the just-completed 2017 campaign, according to Nielsen ratings released this week, but gridiron telecasts remain among the most popular US shows despite attacks from US President Donald Trump.

The viewing habits that are disrupting the rest of television are also starting to affect the once seemingly invincible NFL. Its 18.2 million viewers beat the second-best prime-time show, Thursday Night Football on CBS, by 29 percent - its largest margin ever.

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A typical game was watched by 1.6 million fewer people this season as compared to last season (14.9 million versus 16.5 million). "That's a pretty meaningful drop", he said. That said, the National Basketball Association has seen a 20 percent jump in viewership compared to the 2016-17 season. Fox was down 22 percent in the season's first week, when a hurricane hit Florida.

The NFL RedZone also might be a factor in taking fans away from watching the daytime games on CBS and FOX.

However, TV executives argue that the league's push to maximize reach - by increasing the number of Thursday Night Football games and Sunday morning games played in London, for example - has hurt appeal and devalued the sports programming. Less cable subscriptions means less viewership, generally.

But even with the ratings decline, the value of National Football League content is not expected to diminish as tech companies are looking for must-have video content. Verizon's new deal with the National Football League to distribute games on mobile phones pays $400 million to $500 million a year, almost twice as much as its last deal.

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